Hood Release Cable

Over the years my 1991 Civic's hood release cable stretched and bent to the point where I had to jury rig it to get it to work. In 2008 I bought a used hood release cable assembly from a 1990 junkyard Honda Civic. I paid $6 for the cable, fasteners, and hood release lever. While pulling it I got some practice for replacing it on my own Honda. The Factory Service Manual has directions on how to do this, though some improvisation may be necessary. The main part of the job is removing the driver's side front inner fender cover. Some highlights and where I improvised follow.

  • I first disconnected the cable at the inside hood release lever. Remove the hood release lever (a few bolts) to do this.
  • Jack up the driver's front side and put on a jackstand. Remove the driver's side front wheel and then the inner fender cover. The fasteners holding my 91 Civic's inner fender cover are plastic screws with inserts. After 17 years, they would not budge. I drilled them out easily with a new, approximately 1/8-inch drill bit. When drilling, take a bit of care not to push through the metal outer fender.
  • Pull the cable through the door area. The rubber donut seal gives easily.
  • Continue removing the cable by removing the fasteners. Many will break in the process, so plan to replace them. I picked up a few dozen at the junkyard while getting the hood release cable.
  • Just behind and below the driver's headlamp assembly, the hood release cable is held down by a roughly 2-inch by 1-inch plate. Its main function is to fix the bottom of the headlamp assembly with a bolt (10 mm head). The bolt had to be removed for me to be able to maneuver the old cable out and the new cable in. My hands are small and I could barely get one in there. Instead, the better approach is as follows: (1) Pop the hood, if not done already; (2) Disconnect the two electrical connectors, using a small scewdriver to push the tabs; (3) Remove the driver's side marker/signal light assembly by removing the Phillips head screw above the assembly and just below the top front of the front quarter panel (= fender) and sliding it off; (4) Remove the two headlamp frame mounting bolts at the top ; (5) Remove the bolt on the outboard side of the headlamp frame; (6) With the necessary extensions, and from the outboard side, maneuver a 10 mm socket onto the head of the bolt holding the bottom of the headlamp frame; (7) Adjusting the angle etc. with the headlamp frame's top ball joint bolt may help; (8) When re-assembling, apply liquid soap to the bottom sliding surface and the side marker/signal light assembly's sliding surfaces; (9) Note the thin rubber protector at the bottom front of the headlamp assembly; position it correctly when re-assembling.
  • Continue removing the cable, working towards the hood latch.
  • At the latch, remove the three bolts (10 mm heads). Disconnect the cable from the latch.
  • Clean the latch with PB Blaster, Q-tips, and rags. Dry. Spray with silicone lubricant. I normally use white lithium grease but am experimenting with the silicone lubricant. Attach the new cable.
  • Install the new cable without the fasteners.
  • Apply liquid soap to the the rubber donut seal at the door. Positioning the donut seal is much easier with the soap.
  • Install the cable fasteners.
  • Put the hood down, without letting it latch, so as to position the latch correctly.
  • After the latch is correctly positioned, torque the latch's three bolts to 7 ft-lbs.